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Matthew Sarker

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Do you think the future of teachers could be in jeopardy?

"We don't replace teachers, by the way. We believe that teachers should be empowered, not replaced."

This statement got me thinking - there's a new wave of 'MOOCs' (Massive Online Open Courses) that have recently popped up (Udacity/coursera/edX) and with education available to potentially everyone, I feel like it's not a big leap to say there could be big changes in the future. One thing I'm trying to grasp is how 'MOOCs' and traditional schools, teachers, and universities might coexist.

I love the idea of using technology in education because I don't see why there should be limits on what it can accomplish. Maybe one day (far in the future) programs can be better teachers than people, and at the very very least more efficient and effective at certain levels/areas. And I'm thinking it'll be a lot cheaper. So economically, what will that mean for the future of our education system?

It's hard to imagine replacing a master teacher who has really sharpened their 'art', but it's not too hard for me to imagine replacing the majority of teachers that have not reached this level of expertise.

Also, to clarify, I'm not attacking teachers (I want to be one one day haha!). Maybe this is too much speculation, but I'd still love to hear people's thoughts.

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  • Oct 10 2012: Not really, Matthew. You see try as they might, scientists can't replace teachers in classrooms, they can just improve teaching aids. Teachers will always be in demand because they add a human touch to the teaching process without which it is really difficult to have effective learning as well as proper assessment. Teachers are humans so they can understand what is going on in the minds of children, not just academic doubts but also the day to day problems they face in school. So teachers do seem like an indispensable resource for educational institutions. I guess we won't be getting rid of them too soon!
    • Oct 15 2012: Hrm, yes I forgot about the extra baggage that students bring to a classroom, an important influence on their learning. From everyone's responses, I'm leaning towards an integration of both online and traditional as the best approach. I'm also coming to the conclusion that the more independent the learner, the more they stand to gain from online learning.

      However, keep in mind that it's not exactly a 'program' teaching learners. It would probably be recorded videos and things like that. There would also be possible feedback from students all over the world (if they're all working on the same thing). Not quite the 'human touch', but it's a very one on one type of thing that has potential.

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